Monday, December 5, 2011

Myeloma Mondays #42: Tanner (Age 17!!) from Ft. Worth, TX

Where were you born and raised?
  •  Fort Worth, Texas
Where do you currently live?
  •  In the same home all my life in Kennedale, Texas
When were you diagnosed and how old were you?
  •  Official diagnosis was July 23, 2009 - age 17
Did you know what MM was prior to diagnosis?
  •  No, I had never heard of Multiple Myeloma.
Is there anyone else your in family with MM?
  •  No one in my family - or anyone else I've ever known has ever been diagnosed with MM
What led to your diagnosis?
  •  A broken left tibia led to the diagnosis
How many times were you referred before actually being diagnosed?
  •  Referred to three different doctors before receiving the actual diagnosis.
Where have you received treatment?
    Cook Childrens Hematology and Oncology Dept
Explain your treatment history: 
  • August 7, 2009 - Chemo
  • 9/2/2009 - Autologous Stem Cell Transplant
  • 10/22/2009 - Autologous Stem Cell Transplant (Tandem)
  • 01/02/2010 - Maintenance Treatment (weekly maintenance chemo - still ongoing at present)
  • 6-2-2011 - Rod placed in Right Femur
  • 7-15-2011 - Rod placed in Left Tibia
Why did you or your doctor choose a specific treatment?
  • Dr. Barlogie prescribed the most aggressive chemotherapy treatment and two autologous stem cell transplants because he felt that he needed to give me the most intense treatment possible since I am so young.  He said that because I was young he knew I could handle the aggressive treatment and that he needed to hit the cancer as hard as he could in the hope of affording me a long life.
What has been the side effects of the different treatments?
  •  The aggressive chemotherapy treatments have been the hardest thing I've had to endure. I was just so completley sick and week.  I'm so grateful for the fact that because of treatment, I've been in remission for two years, but I hope I never have to go through that process ever again.
What has been the hardest thing about your MM journey?
  •  The hardest thing about this MM journey is living in fear of it coming back.  Fear of dying young. 
What are the top lessons learned that you would want a newly diagnosed MM patient to know about?
  • The top lessons I've learned is that everyone who's diagnosed with MM is afraid, but we all have to learn to put the fear in the background and focus on our lives right now, this moment.  We have to go on every day and believe that we are going to win this battle against the cancer that has tried to take over our bodies.
How have you been able to stay positive and encouraged in your MM journey?
  • I met so many great people at UAMS in Little Rock, AR and they were great to me and my mom.  I was the youngest person being treated there and I was like everyone's grandson and they helped me to become strong. When I came back home to Fort Worth, my maintenance treamtent has been done at Cook's Children's Oncology and Hematology Department and while it breaks my heart to see all the young children with cancer, the staff at Cook's has been great! They sent me to a summer camp in Montana where I got to hang out with lots of teenagers with cancer. It's the first time I've gotten to spend time with anyone my age with cancer. I know I'm not alone.
After being diagnosed... What perspective was changed the most?
  • After being diagnosed, I've learned not to take anything for granted.  None of us know what tomorrow's going to bring.  We have to relish every minute.  We've got to make sure the people who mean the most to us know how much we love them.  Don't stress over the little things.
Did you or a parent work in a field with or were exposed to toxic chemicals prior to diagnosis?
  • No
What MM sites or blogs had you found good information from after diagnosis?
  • MMRF
  • Being Cancer Network
  • Multiple Myeloma for Dummies


Rad said...

Amazing young man. Set aside the fear and live...easier said than done, but with practice and time it's possible.

Angie Walker said...

Thanks for posting Tanner's story. As his mom, I've struggled greatly to put aside my own fear and live.

Michelle Womack said...

As a teacher I am amazed at Tanner having such a grownup outlook on such a overwhelming diagnosis! As a wife who's husband was diagnosed this summer with MM... he is still trying to comprehend and understand the diagnosis. We live in SE OK and have wondered of how to be in contact with other MM patients who live close to us.

Angie Walker said...

Michelle, we met a very nice couple when Tanner was going through treatment at UAMS in Little Rock who live in OK. I've emailed her and asked her if she lives anywhere near SE OK. I told her, if nothing else, maybe she could email you. I know this sort of diagnosis is overwhelming. I struggle every day with the worry for my son.

Julie said...

Fight on Tanner! Your story is amazing! This crazy MM is so random! In my circles, I was "young" to be diagnosed... But then I read about Phil and others in their 20s, 30s, 40s etc... but you must have won the "prize" for youngest MM diagnosis! No doubt, you'll continue to dominate MM!! Cheers to a great 2012 for you and your family Tanner! Love your picture too! Julie from CA :)

Julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Low Platelets Treatment and Natural Remedies

Lori Puente said...

We were in Arkansas when Tanner came into the hospital. On one of our trips there we saw him and his mother waiting, like the rest of us, for our turn. Tanner and Angie were much discussed amongst us, because Tanner was so damn young! Lots of disbelief, hope, and anguish for two people we did not even know. I felt bad that he was having to hang out with a bunch of "old" people as there just aren't "children" with MM. I never got a chance to talk with them, but I have kept tabs on them through Angie's heartfelt writings at Tanner's Journey. We could all learn from their tremendous courage.

Jody said...

So glad to see his story here! As a "young" MIRT patient I often heard how there was a young man that was 17 when he presented. I found and read his Mother's blog a few times, but I'm glad to hear his perspective. Keep it up Tanner, you are an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

This blog is really a great source of information which is very useful for me. Thank you very much for such important information.